The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) met with the regional office of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regarding South Water Street. Legal counsel was present from both entities.
Following the meeting, FHWA informed us that they will not get involved nor will they implement any penalties against the City of Providence for the breach of contract.
It is our opinion that taking a lane of traffic on South Water Street creates traffic and safety issues but the FHWA, which was a signatory to the contract, does not want to get involved. Therefore, we will not press the issue any further.
We are aware that some of the adjacent businesses, including two universities, object to the City’s taking of a traffic lane from the highly traveled Route 44. We sympathize with the abutters but since FHWA is not supportive of any corrective action, we encourage them to seek remedy through City government.
With the development that is in this area and with new development anticipated, it would seem that taking a major connector road that is part of the U.S. highway system and cutting it down to one lane is not the best course of action. However, if the FHWA has no interest in getting involved, we have no choice but to let the construction stand.
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